UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, will be in Honduras until August 27 as part of a tour to collect information on the situation for defenders in Central America. During the visit, Honduran civil society organizations will share reports and testimonies, and participate in regional and national consultations and other events to denounce the current human rights crisis and widespread impunity in the country.
“We view the visit of the Special Rapporteur as an opportunity to analyze the situation, share experiences at the national and regional levels, and make visible the high-risk conditions that women human rights defenders face in our country,” stated Daysi Flores, coordinator of JASS Honduras. Flores noted that women human rights defenders are targets of gender-specific threats and attacks, requiring protection mechanisms with a gender perspective, and more awareness about the risks and obstacles women face in defending human rights.
JASS, along with the Center for Justice and International Law and Protection International, will present their report entitled “Gender Focus in the Protection of Women Human Rights Defenders: Experiences of Mexico and Honduras”. The report concludes that both nations are failing at providing adequate protection for women human rights defenders.
The National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders of Honduras—of which JASS is a member—has documented ten assassinations of Honduran women human rights defenders since 2012, most of them defenders of land and natural resources. The documentation indicates that in many cases Honduran government officials or security forces are directly involved in the crimes, and in others the state has lacked the will or the capacity to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The study also notes that since the last visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on Defenders to Honduras in 2012 the Honduran government has failed to fully implement the recommendations for the recognition and protection of women human rights defenders, and violence against them has increased. Although the recently approved Law for the Protection of Defenders, Journalists and Members of the Judicial Branch contributes to the legal framework for carrying out human rights defense, it fails to incorporate a gender perspective or effective mechanisms for compliance. This makes it unlikely that it will reduce the growing violence against defenders.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders was established in 2000 to support implementation of the 1998 Declaration on human rights defenders. This visit to Honduras comes at a critical moment for the country, since the assassination of the prominent human rights defender Berta Cáceres on March 2 and the wave of attacks throughout the country. It opens up the possibility of analyzing the crisis and its causes and strategizing effective ways for protecting and preventing violence against women defenders.
CONTACT: Daysi Flores
TELEPHONE: 504-22214912, 504-33097223